Manchester City kept pace at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa as Jack Grealish managed only a late cameo against his former club.
Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva put the visitors into the ascendancy with first-half strikes as City claimed their 11th win in 12 meetings with Villa.
Ollie Watkins halved the deficit after the interval prior to the introduction of Grealish, who returned to Villa Park for the first time since joining Pep Guardiola’s side for a British record £100million fee.
City remain a point behind leaders Chelsea, who triumphed 2-1 in their away fixture at Watford on Wednesday.
Rodri stung Emiliano Martinez’s hands as City dominated the opening stages before Leon Bailey saw a seemingly goal-bound effort blocked at the other end.
Dias then proved the unlikely first goalscorer with a deflected left-footed effort into the bottom-right corner following Raheem Sterling’s cutback to the edge of the area.
City doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Gabriel Jesus raced away on the counter and clipped across for Silva, who converted with an expert first-time volley.
Watkins pegged Guardiola’s team back as he hooked a low volley just inside the right-hand post from Douglas Luiz’s corner before Ezri Konsa poked narrowly wide amid claims for a penalty for a Nathan Ake foul.
Jesus looked to add a third but miscued a half-volley well over, while Ederson was required to deny Carney Chukwuemeka in excellent fashion as City held on for another victory.